I have learned (意味) and (意義)as "meaning". I am confused these two words. Are they same or is there any difference in usage?

  • The late Ōno Susumu (大野晋) wrote on the difference between 意味 and 意義 in his best-seller 『日本語練習帳』. See pages 27-30.
    – Dono
    Sep 2, 2012 at 2:30

2 Answers 2


Add on to sawa's answer. 意義 is the more philosophical version, often used in existential discussions, such as the meaning of one's life. However, when saying meaningless, the word 意味 will still be used 意味がない


意味 is more general. 意義 is "reason for existence", or "purpose".

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